Do you speak your professional mind?

Approximately 18 years ago, when I have started producing my medical and sports massage instructional medical massage educational video series, my friend’s wife told me: ”Boris don't do this. You guys should just teach live classes.”  On my question “why not?” she replied: ”the other practitioners will learn your methodology, repackage and rename your product, and will try to discredit and demonize you, including criticizing your accent, your pronunciation, sentence structure, semantic pattern, etc.”

This wonderful woman is an American, while my friend is like myself is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. She branded us as naïve immigrants who don't understand American reality.

I had many valid reasons to disagree with her…

  1. I teach methodology that wasn't researched and developed by me and I never claimed or will claim it as mine. I just was trained in and practiced more than 60 protocols of medical and sports massage.
  2. At this time two my instructional VHS were out. I didn't feel like keeping secrets. What for?
  3. The whole idea behind production of these educational videos was to educate practitioners how to perform Russian medical and sports massage protocols. In order to teach others, one have to acquire many years of clinical experience. This is the only condition when one is able to teach this methodology. It is different business to be a good clinician and to be instructor. Of course one cannot be good instructor and at the same time not be a good clinician. It was absolutely okay with me if people will learn from me, will develop skills to such degree that they will be able to teach others, and will teach details from treatment room.

So, at the time, the idea that someone who would study from me, would demonize, mock and discredit me afterward, seemed nonsensical.

My argument was that I am teaching hands on massage therapy, and rather that English language. At the time I was involved with medical schools in Los Angeles and knew a few professors of medicine, who said to me that my English is good enough to teach hands-on massage because in our faculties many professors of medicine spoke English that was no better than mine.

This gave me some comfort.

Just to entertain you I am offering very funny clips, where accents are discussed. Please be aware, that some F-words are included in this clips. If you are F- word intolerant, than please do not click. Thank you. Voice Recognition Elevator - ELEVEN! (Preview)

In this video The English Language In 24 Accents (Preview) the F-word used even more frequently and its usage is more elaborate. Just warning you.

Al this time I was very happy teaching my classes and being involved in preparing professional career for thousands of American practitioners.  Many of them already possess 20 years of clinical experiences and nowadays teach medical massage, in the same way as trained them.

However, it turned out that to some degree this lady was right.  It wasn't a pleasant experience and somehow influenced me just to be a clinician and much less being involved in different professional events. The most striking for me, was her statement: ”…don't confuse freedom of speech in our country, with “freedom” to speak up your professional mind.  Better sit quiet, otherwise you’ll be demonize”

Honestly when she said this to me, I started laughing. I said to her: ”my dear friend, if I had no problem speaking my professional mind in the dictatorship system of the Soviet Union, I will speak my mind here in the US. Surely professionals will disagree with my opinions. So what? We will discuss and ,maybe agree to disagree, but to be afraid to speak our minds??????”

I told her that I was planning to share my knowledge by offering instructional video material for free as well. If someone would disagree on my hands on performance approach, or on presented concepts, then in our times of great technological advancements they could easily shoot their own video and demonstrate their hands-on techniques.  So everybody would be able to learn, including myself.  The less demagoguery is involved the better. Instead our capability to deliver faster, better and sustained results will flourish.

So I did what I planned.  You are welcome to click and to review my free lessons.

Free Lessons Educational Page

Certainly, I wasn't afraid to speak my mind. But in most discussions I couldn't even get to the point of agreeing to disagreeing. This it didn't stop me from continuing to share my knowledge with others. To write my articles, blogs, and to produce video materials.

What was an unpleasant discovery, is that many practitioners afraid to speak their mind, because they would be attacked by the group of (for the lack of a better term) “purists” or “sticklers” who demand to provide references. Even though many of these references make no sense at all and often carry false statements in regards to the huge benefits that the use of massage causes to a human body.

How do I know that many practitioners are afraid to speak their mind? While being involved in arguments with these “purists,” many practitioners used to write me supportive private messages. When I ask why they do not post it their opinions openly, I wasn’t given clear answers. It was obvious, massage therapists are afraid to speak their minds, which is despicable.

This year I had a great opportunity to participate in the World Massage Festival. This was great experience and a very positive energy. All was about massage, including educational programs. The organizers arranged the events in the way that people could use this time as a combination of vacation and educational programs. It is no secret - our community is divided.  But at WMF, it was a really professional mutually respectful atmosphere. I am attributing all this positive respectful atmosphere to WMF mission statement which is:

“To honor those who built the bridges for our profession, to educate the general public about massage, to educate therapists about different types of massage and to have fun. Experts in different types of massage could freely discuss professional aspects, to exchange knowledge, etc.”

I was just copying and pasting from WMF so the statement above is verbatim.

Anyhow, it was a great atmosphere and enjoyed every moment of it. Never again I will miss the future WMF. Many massage therapy schools brought students to this wonderful convention. This future massage therapists felt as a part of our professional family. I personally had an opportunity to present to students at Bon Vital's booth. Please click this link and you'll see a big crowd of students who was very enthusiastic to learn.

At this first shift, I presented to students from China who are studying Chinese methods of massage. They were very eager to learn as much as possible on methods of Western massage.

What a huge interest have they expressed viewing my hands on performance and listening to my explanations.  Students asked me many very intelligent questions. It was a pleasant experience.

I’ve met many wonderful people in person.  Laura Allen looks much, much younger than on her Facebook picture. Fun lady. We laughed a lot. Cindy and Mike Hinkle are very good people, sincerely passionate to built much-needed bridges for our profession. Darcy Neibaur is simply a very warm and a pleasant person. She is finding much pleasure in welcoming people, to make everybody feel very good.

I had an opportunity to meet James Waslaski. We didn't have enough time to talk but the conversation was of substance. We talked like a old friends and colleagues.

It was a great deal of pleasure to meet in person Donno Sarvello, NCBTMB VP of educational support.  Practically during a few minutes she explained to me the NCBTMB future educational plans as well as how easy it would be to upgrade the status to the “board certified.” She is very fun young lady - we have laughed a lot.

I was witnessing hard work of Michael Robertson who is a president of AMTA state of California chapter. Honestly I wouldn't be able to stay, all day long, and to explain students how important it is to join professional Association. I know Michael for a long time, but honestly after witnessing his enthusiasm at WMF I gain even greater respect for him.

I also met Brian Holterman ABMP education program coordinator. He was very busy explaining students and massage therapists the benefits and importance of advanced career by taking continued education, and belonging to trade associations.

These guys are amazing and really inspired me to contribute even more. I also had an opportunity to meet Mr.Thomas P. Haidenberger, owner of BONVITAL - great enthusiastic person. For years I know Bruce Baltz, who is  VP of Education & Business Development at Bon Vital. So I was happy to join Bon Vital educational team, when few years ago Bruce have invited me. It felt good, but after meeting Mr.Thomas P. Haidenberger, somehow it gave additional great feeling to work with these wonderful people at Bon Vital.

It was great to see Judy Calvert. It's always a pleasure to talk to Judy, to share with her love and passion for massage therapy. She knows a lot of massage history. It was very interesting to listen to her. Needless to say how generous where every vendor at the exhibit hall. They provided gifts to everyone. I would say pretty costly gifts and a lots of them.

I really regret that missed meeting in person Taya Countryman, Vivian Madison- Mahoney, Ralph Stephens, Walt Fritz, who also took a part at WMF. I hope next time I will have this opportunity to meet them as well.

My dear friends, when reading my blog, you probably felt my excitements. I realized that this is like a mini report from WMF.  I just felt like providing these details. I mean personally for me WMF event changed a lot of perceptions of who are people in my professional community. Most likely I was for a long time involved in arguments with some particular group of peoples who are not sharing my beliefs. I met huge amount of people who are very supportive and encouraging to each other; sharing the knowledge, the knowledge that will help people to deliver better results. I have discovered a different world. Hope to see you all next year at WMF. God willing I will be there for sure.

Best wishes,


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